UK Girl Dies of Inoperable Brain Tumor After Getting Wish to Sing to Simon Cowell
Five year old Bethany Fenton died today just two days after being granted a wish to sing for Simon Cowell following an afternoon rehearsal for Britain’s Got Talent. She had an inoperable brain tumor called an anaplastic astrocytoma, became ill on Monday, and died early this morning at Oxford Radcliffe Hospital.
Bethany performed “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on Saturday to Simon in his dressing room and met fellow judges and some of the finalists over tea. Bethany’s dad Sean, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, said that “the highlight of the day was meeting Simon Cowell, who was a true gentleman, joking with Bethany and listening intently as she sang to him.”
Bethany was diagnosed with a grade three to four anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor last year, but surgeons said that it was not possible to remove it as it was inside the brain, growing outward. A second MRI in September revealed that the tumor had grown, affecting her health.
An astrocytoma is the most common glioma, a brain tumor that develops from the star-shaped glial cells (also called astrocytes) that support nerve cells. The tumors can occur in most parts of the brain, but are most commonly found in the cerebrum in adults. Astrocytomas are more common in the base of the brain in young people.
Anaplastic astrocytomas are grade III gliomas that grow faster and more aggressively than grade II astrocytomas and invade the neighboring tissue. They account for about four percent of all brain tumors and are more common in men than women.
Patients often present with seizures, neurologic deficits, headaches, or changes in mental status. If possible, the standard initial treatment is to surgically remove as much of the tumor as possible without worsening neurologic deficits. Median survival ranges from two to three years, and radiation therapy as a component of treatment has been shown to prolong survival.
Bethany is survived by her parents Jemma and Sean, brother Louis (10), and sister Gracie (2). Family friend Robin Thompson, who organized the trip to see Simon Cowell said that “Saturday night at Britain’s Got Talent was the highlight of her short life.”